Waived permit fees cause confusion among Washington residents

By Beau Ebenezer

January 31, 2014 Updated Jan 31, 2014 at 11:28 AM CDT

WASHINGTON, Ill. -- Confusion has spread through the Washington community as residents look to rebuild after the November disaster.

The city announced last week that residents would have all building permit fees waived thanks to a council vote.

Now those affected are beginning to find out there are stipulations to those waivers.

Mayor Gary Manier admitted he made a mistake in a previous interview regarding the waiving of permit fees.

He said the city has received several calls from confused residents this week, and he apologized if anyone was misled.

Last Tuesday, the council voted unanimously to waive several permit fees for those looking to rebuild their homes.

Mayor Manier had originally stated all permit fees would be waived in the rebuilding process.

However, if a resident is looking to completely rebuild their home, it will cost them a fee.

There will be a $20 filing fee to get a building permit.

The resident will also be required to pay $2 for every $1,000 worth of construction.

Mayor Manier said fees that will be waived are construction on damaged homes along with connection fees for water and sewer.

Residents may also have to pay a $140 fee to replace their water meters.

Many are still not happy. They want all fees to be waived.

"There is a misperception that people who had total losses are having less struggles with the insurance companies," said Washington resident April Crotts. "I am just curious as to why the council chose to waive one or the other."

"We kind of kicked around the idea of waiving all of the fees," said Manier. "But when we found out the insurance companies were making people whole on it and a lot of them paid it before we had the meeting on waiving the fees, we chose to charge the building permit for a total rebuild."

Manier added that many will have their permit fees covered by their insurance.

If you had already paid a waived fee before the council vote, Manier said it will be reimbursed as soon as possible.